Durban University of Technology (DUT’s) Alumni in Town and Regional Planning, who guest lecture’s social impact architecture and development organization’s work (Ubuntu Design Group), is nominated for the United Nations People’s Choice Awards that will be taking place in Abu Dhabi this month.
Wandile Mthiyane’s story and the impact of the work his organisation is having in low-income communities is what earned him a spot as one of the five out of 400 Obama leaders who was selected to represent Africa at The Obama Foundation Annual Summit in Chicago, in 2019; and is what ultimately led his work to be nominated for the UN Local Projects Challenge’s Choice Awards.
Mthiyane believes that true change comes from the community and that’s why he started an architecture firm that seeks to rewrite the narrative of who architecture is for.
“For far too long architecture has been seen as a commodity only for the rich, when I graduated with my Masters from Andrews University in Michigan, I wanted to change that and use architecture as vehicle to develop and enhance the lives of low-income communities like the one I grew up in,” said Mthiyane. He believes this is best evident in the pilot home he built for a family living in a dilapidated shack in uMbumbulu.
United Nations Local Projects Challenge Awards are awards designed to highlight the work of people/organisations who are doing exceptional work to help meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals Agenda.
“This has been a tremendous experience for me, I’m one of the youngest in all different cohorts and I feel honoured to be in the same room with some of the smartest and most successful young people in the World. It’s humbling to be one of the five African leaders selected for this opportunity. I had never dreamt that one day I would represent my community and South Africa in this capacity. I have been making great networks and the Foundation is working tirelessly to connect us with all the tools and resources to succeed in our ventures,” said Mthiyane.
Mthiyane’s nomination follows the Obama Foundation Summit he attended in November, 2019. The summit looked at the focus on the “the power of place” the role communities play in shaping revolutionary leaders. The Summit also aimed at showcasing how the growing network of emerging leaders are taking the baton from the former President Obama and Mrs Obama, while rallying key constituencies.
Pictured: Wandile Mthiyane